Last year, we had reported that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was reevaluating its stance regarding the use of mobile devices like the iPad and Kindle during takeoff and landing. The FAA had set up a working group to study the use of such mobile devices.
The New York Times now reports that the FAA may loosen rules for using reading devices during takeoff and landing by the end of the year.
The New York Times reports:
According to people who work with an industry working group that the Federal Aviation Administration set up last year to study the use of portable electronics on planes, the agency hopes to announce by the end of this year that it will relax the rules for reading devices during takeoff and landing. The change would not include cellphones.
One member of the group and an official of the F.A.A., both of whom asked for anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about internal discussions, said the agency was under tremendous pressure to let people use reading devices on planes, or to provide solid scientific evidence why they cannot.
The reports notes that while passengers have been told to turn off mobile devices during takeoff and landing, there is no evidence that they affect a plane’s avionics.
The change in regulation is a step in the right direction as it didn’t make sense to have blanket ban on the use of mobile devices without providing solid scientific evidence. So hopefully when we travel next year, we are told “Please put your devices on ‘airplane mode’ for takeoff” rather than to power down our devices for takeoff.
Unfortunately, the change in regulations won’t include cellphones. It’s not clear what’s the reason for keeping the ban on cellphones as they should be as safe as tablets when they’re put on airplane mode.